Quimper, Concarneau, Landernau & Pont-Aven

Quimper (pronounced Kemper) is the ancient capital of Brittany and is a fabulous place with a glorious cathedral and lots of restaurants and bars to visit. The old part is mainly pedestrianised and the old cobbled streets are a joy to wander down. We got there around 1800 but many of the shops were still open for another hour or so (and this was unusual on our trip so far).

The cathedral is dedicated to St Contenin who managed to survive on a single fish that kept regenerating itself.

The town has lots of small bridges crossing the river that runs through the centre, which adds to its charm although why they needed a bridge every ten metres or so is not entirely clear!







The most interesting part of Concarneau is its ancient walled city, Ville Close, dating back at least a thousand years. It was fortified by Vauban in the 17th Century and sits on its own island in the harbour with access by boat or through two gateways.

The walled city is very pretty but gets very crowded in high season. It reminds me of a baby Dubrovnik with its ramparts and alleyways but without being in quite the same setting! It also had the added bonus (!) of having a Fishing Museum so Liz was very happy.




It was here that we first tasted Far Breton which is a prune custard flan and absolutely delicious.

Landerneau is a short journey east (9 miles) of Brest at the top of the river Elorn. We have visited it twice, by car and bicycle. It is a small medieval town with one of the few inhabited bridges in Europe and was re-constructed in 1510. It is a pretty town with many bars and restaurants and is very proud of its Breton heritage. The Tourist Office is in the main square a few minutes walk away from the Pont du Rohan. It is navigable by boat but the river is silted up in its upper reaches so probably best visited by other means or by dinghy.

Pont-Aven’s claim to fame is that Paul Gauguin came to paint there in the 1880’s and the town has built up a reputation as a holiday resort with many galleries and antique shops. It is a pretty place but not very big with really only one main street of interest with a water mill and small harbour. There are landscaped walks and wooded gardens to while away your time as well as restaurants overlooking the river.


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